Rekeem Harper is surely running out of time to prove his worth to West Brom as his struggles continue this season.
The 20-year-old is currently on loan to Championship outfit Birmingham City, where things aren’t going to plan and given it’s a division that the Baggies seem destined for, this could spell serious trouble.
Indeed, only a miracle will see Sam Allardyce save Albion from the brink of an instant return to the second flight as they remain nine points adrift of safety with only 12 games left to play.
If they do go down, then you’d imagine that a talented academy graduate like Harper could really stake a claim in being part of the first-team set-up finally, but he’s yet to be convincing during a poor stint at the Blues this term.
The young Baggies starlet ranks amongst their three worst performers since arriving in January, recording an average rating of 6.28 as per WhoScored – only former Hawthorns man Jonathan Leko (6.24) and Adam Clayton (6.16) have been poorer.
Harper has only started nine matches for the Midlands outfit since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, so evidently, he had not been fancied by Slaven Bilic nor Sam Allardyce.
That’s despite all the praise he’s received in the past.
Even Bilic dubbed Harper a “powerhouse.”
In seven appearances for the St Andrew’s side, the 6 foot 2 colossus has only managed 0.9 tackles per game and has evidently struggled in his battles, as he has committed 1.4 fouls per game, via WhoScored.
The former sees him rank 13th for players that have started four or more games for Birmingham, which just isn’t good enough for that anchorman-like presence. Similarly, Celta Vigo loanee Okay Yokuslu has been utilised to good effect for the Baggies, averaging 1.3 tackles and only 1.3 fouls each game.
Again, 13 other current Albion players are doing better than that.
Clearly, Harper has it all to do if he’s to have much of a long-term future at the Hawthorns. It’s been one massive nightmare, having once been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Juventus via the Mirror in summer 2019, now his career at struggling West Brom could be in jeopardy.
If the £12.5k-per-week gem continues to struggle during this loan spell, then he won’t be earning a spot in the squad next season in the Championship, let alone if they achieve the unthinkable and remain in the top-flight.
It’s now or never for the 20-year-old.
These upcoming months could be rather telling – is he the next Nathan Ferguson? or merely another Leko? Only time will tell.